Tuesday, April 19, 2011

My Mother and her driver's license

When I called my Mother in Kentucky a couple of weeks ago, I asked her what she would be doing that week.  Monday she had a doctor's appointment, Friday she would get her hair done and go to lunch.  Oh, on Tuesday she was going to the county seat to renew her driver's license. (In KY you can only renew your license in person,  unless you are in the military) I was stunned I had no idea she still had a license.  My Mother will be 94 tomorrow.  She is active, she is sharp as a tack, she works cross word puzzles every day.  But driving???

She can not walk far and uses a wheel chair when they go out.  She doesn't roll it, someone pushes it for her.  I asked why she was getting a license and not a Kentucky ID.  "There might be an emergency and I would need to drive."  I asked if she had to take a test:  driving, written, eye.  "They never have had me take one before."   So this week I asked if she got her license. Yes indeedy.  No test taken. All she had to do was sit down and have her picture taken, and off they went with the license.

In Kentucky you evidently only take a test once and you can drive forever.  Kentucky and much of the country did not require a driver's examination/license until the late 1930s.  Mother drove for several years with no license.  She told me when she got her first driver's license, my Daddy went down to the county seat and picked it up for her.  She never took a driver's test for the state of Kentucky.  When we lived in Colorado in the late 1940s she did take a test for a license there.

One quick story of her driving pre- license.  While in college her boyfriend from home (not my  Daddy) drove up to visit her. There was a big snow storm and he couldn't drive home.  Remember this is the 1930s in the mountains of Kentucky.  The roads were two lane and had lots of twisty dangerous curves.  Her boyfriend had to go to work the next morning, so he rode the train home.  Mother was to drive his car home the next weekend.  Her best friend, Prissy, and she drove home the next weekend.  Mother drove until they would reach a town.  She would stop and Prissy would drive through the town.  Then Mother would again take over and drive.  They drove like that for 75 miles.  Why you ask?  Mother had only driven on highways with her boyfriend's arm around her helping her to steer.  She was afraid of pedestrians and oncoming cars.  Prissy was much more experienced at driving.

I am sure you are now wondering why Prissy didn't just drive all the time.  Mother's boy friend did not like Prissy and did not want her driving his car.  Mother never told him Prissy helped drive home.

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